Hardcore music to the ears

This year’s Polaris Music Prize winners boast an unprintable name and a 300-pound frontman nicknamed “Pink Eyes,” who closed Monday’s gala by stripping down to his underwear and tying a belt tightly around his bald head.

Members of the band "Fucked Up" including singer Pink Eyes (top row

TORONTO — This year’s Polaris Music Prize winners boast an unprintable name and a 300-pound frontman nicknamed “Pink Eyes,” who closed Monday’s gala by stripping down to his underwear and tying a belt tightly around his bald head.

Ladies and gentlemen, your winners of the fourth annual $20,000 Polaris Music Prize: F—ed Up.

“That is insane,” said singer Damian Abraham as he jogged onstage to accept the award (he had put his clothes back on at this point, but after doling out a list of thank-yous, he stripped off his shirt to reveal his hairy back once more).

“We got here today and we got frisked on our way in, and every time we went back, we got frisked again.”

“So I was like: ‘Aww, this is going to suck, being frisked so much and not coming away with anything. But then I got a free iPod, and I was like: ‘Yeah!’ But this is better than an iPod!”

While Abraham and his bandmates seemed flabbergasted by the result, the band was pegged by many as a potential favourite for the award for their record, The Chemistry of Common Life.

The album featured a groundbreaking mix of aggressive hardcore, shimmering pop and meticulous production craft. It received rave reviews and was featured in year-end lists in Spin Magazine, Pitchfork and the New York Times, which could only print the band’s name as eight asterisks but said that their record approached the power of the Who’s classic Who’s Next.

But Abraham said Monday that sort of critical adoration hadn’t always extended north of the border.

“This, to me, is like the best moment, because for the longest time I really felt like we were outside the Canadian music scene,” he said.

“Well, if we’re outside, we stole the biggest prize.”

The three previous winners of the Polaris, which is awarded by a jury of music journalists and is based on merit, not sales, were Toronto’s Final Fantasy, Montreal’s Patrick Watson and Caribou of Dundas, Ont. All were present for Monday’s gala.

Some of the show’s performers incorporated inspired stagecraft into their tunes. Toronto alt-country outfit Elliott Brood distributed baking sheets and wooden spoons to an audience who gamely pounded out a rhythm, while Patrick Watson, nominated for a second time, performed with five long lights extending from his backpack like a bouquet of roses.

Near the end of the show — which lasted well over three hours — a food fight broke out between Watson’s band and Malajube.

While a beaming Abraham and his bandmates were relaxed and cracking jokes backstage after the show, he turned serious when asked how the band planned to spend the money.

“There were over 500 missing aboriginal women in Canada and we’re going to put out a benefit record to try to draw attention to it and raise some money for these people,” he said. “It’s a marginalized group, it’s a racialized crime, it’s ignored. So we’re putting out a benefit Christmas record with some really funny guests and we’re gonna pay for it.”

Just Posted

Winter Games flame arrives in Red Deer

Roly McLenahan torch has arrived

Two men facing charges after police chase in Innisfail

One of the suspects initially thought might have been involved in earlier Innisfail bank robbery

Ready, set, go!

2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off Friday night with Opening Ceremonies

Penhold house fire under investigation

Fire quickly knocked down

Ontario government promises ‘action’ if Hydro One doesn’t cut proposed CEO pay

TORONTO — Ontario’s energy minister says the government will take “any and… Continue reading

WATCH: Canada Games Hall of Honour inductees offer advice to athletes

The inductees were honoured at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer Thursday

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current… Continue reading

Canada’s McKeever swaps skis for tuxedo, nominated for Laureus World Sport Award

CALGARY — From a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco to the nordic… Continue reading

Scrutiny, family woes pile pressure on pregnant Meghan

LONDON — When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry, the American… Continue reading

It’s a girl! Berlin zoo’s baby polar bear has 1st checkup

Berlin’s Tierpark zoo says its latest baby polar bear is “a perky,… Continue reading

Local Sports: Kaitlan Linnell achieves hockey dream

Coming up through Red Deer minor hockey Kaitlan Linnell had a dream… Continue reading

Michael Kors throws a ’70s bash with Barry Manilow on stage

NEW YORK — Michael Kors threw a fashion show worthy of Studio… Continue reading

CBC aims to double amount of kids programming on Gem streaming service

The CBC says it’s redirecting some funding to invest in programming for… Continue reading

Cleaning routine shows promise in curbing superbug infection

Think of it as decontaminating yourself. Hospitalized patients who harbour certain superbugs… Continue reading

Most Read